The Evolving Language of Cannabis Equity
Transforming the cannabis industry lexicon.
The vocabulary of the cannabis industry has long been shackled to a history of racially-biased inequities, stereotypes, and stigmas. As it did with Angslinger's sinister use of "marijuana" to turn a nation against the cannabis plant and to vilify people of darker complexions. Words have power. Post-legalization language is the most critical player in normalizing and legalizing the plant. The way language is used dictates enforcement and in this new world, language will determine the narrative shift and success of social, economic, and environmental justice for historically excluded and oppressed communities. Less than 2 years ago, the public and private sectors of the cannabis industry largely ignored terms such as "Social Equity" and "Legacy market". Many pioneering advocates were simply fighting for more diversity in legal cannabis and reparative investments with the new cannabis tax revenue, prioritizing the most-harmed communities for support. Fast forward to today, co-opting and contorting of equity language has led to mixed results, such as labeling reparative initiatives "failures" before the fight has really begun. This has created the urgent call for authentically acknowledging the shifting rhetoric and collectively realigning on the evolving language of cannabis equity
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